Identifying Aesthetic Experience

Revolution 2.0 by Ghada Amer (b. 1963, Cairo).

This project entails the investigation and collection of æsthetic experiences—visual, mathematical, scientific and otherwise—to assist the 21st century Individual in curating collections of Aesthetic Moments.

Project description

This project entails the investigation and collection of æsthetic experiences—visual, mathematical, scientific and otherwise, yet to be defined. The broader context for the project work is born of the perceived need to preserve what is essentially "human" about our species, specifically now as we enter into the age of Superintelligence. Moreover, we propose that concepts such as, awe, wonder, grace and grandeur, are critical for our species, despite the risk of losing these very characteristics to the sterilizing affects of popular technology and culture. We further seek to develop best methods to assist the 21st century Individual in curating collections of Aesthetic Moments.

Project outcome

Students will write periodic short papers (2–3 pages in length) and will conclude with a project of their choosing.

Contributions to the online dialogue are accomplished through uploading content in whatever format seems most appropriate: writing to a course blog; sharing results of experiments including journal entries; video documentation; interviews, etc.

We also plan a deconstruction project in which students will make a small display exploring the limits of when an object becomes (in)distinguishable, yet greater than, the sum of its parts.

The discussions and writings will help students discover the nature of an aesthetic experience and how related ontological considerations apply to most academic areas of inquiry. The most important result will be that students develop skills pertinent to enabling aesthetic experience by analyzing and interpreting texts, which can find applicability outside of our course.

The overarching vision for the long-term project is to create a bank for culturally equivalent moments and expressions of, awe, grandeur, grace, as means to help us move past our current overly-analytical epoch.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Fall (August/September)
Level of collaboration Individual and small groups; both are encouraged and expected
Benefits Variable
Who is eligible Anyone

Core partners

  • Buffalo Catholic Diocese
  • Burchfield Penney Art Center

Project mentor

William Fedirko

Instructor

Philosophy

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Please read this short article concerning how one "transforms" an object; in the case of the Arthur C. Danto's theory, the object is to be, or to become, art. 
  • After reading, please consider how you "add value" to your world, bearing in mind that the added value may manifest itself in any number of myriad ways, from the everyday act of cleaning the house to the creation of a piece of art. Nothing is off limits! Indeed, this is the very point of our first exercise: To define "adding value" as a human exercise and to understand what types of value we must preserve and which types we may be willing to let go.